Steven Spielberg Only Has Sole Writing Credit on 1 Movie

Since the 1970s on, Steven Spielberg has shaped the future of Hollywood and cinema in general. Films such as Jaws, Raiders of the Lost Ark, and E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial defined what a modern blockbuster could be. And Jurassic Park earned Spielberg $250 million, giving him a franchise that lives on nearly 30 years later. But for all his achievements as a director and producer, Spielberg is much more limited in his role as a writer.

Steven Spielberg holds his hands up while he talks in front of a blue background
Steven Spielberg | Jeff Kravitz/FilmMagic

Steven Spielberg directed some of the biggest movies of all time

Given the enormity of his career, it’s easy to overlook any apparent deficiencies in Spielberg’s filmography. After all, his cinematic resume is the stuff of legends. In addition to the aforementioned hits, the director helmed box office smashes such as War of the Worlds, Saving Private Ryan, Minority Report, Catch Me If You Can, and others that don’t star either Tom Cruise or Tom Hanks.

But he’s also produced such popular franchises as Back to the Future, Gremlins, Transformers, and Men in Black as well as classics like The Goonies, Who Framed Roger Rabbit, Twister, and The Mask of Zorro. More often than not, Spielberg has the Midas touch. However, he rarely writes his movies himself. In fact, he’s only ever once boasted sole writing credit on one of his movies.

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But the filmmaker only has sole writing credit on a single movie

Throughout his career, Spielberg has been instrumental in crafting the stories his movies tell. Case in point, he carries story credit and The Sugarland Express and The Goonies, the former of which he also directed. And he co-wrote the screenplays for Poltergeist and A.I.: Artificial Intelligence. Moreover, Spielberg reportedly does punch-ups of scripts he directs. So he’s clearly putting a bit more work on his movies than the credits imply.

Yet, his IMDb profile reveals he only has sole writing credit for 1977’s Close Encounters of the Third Kind. That film — sandwiched between Jaws and 1941 — is only the fourth one he directed. Yet, of Spielberg’s blockbuster hits, it’s one of the least-talked-about entries on his filmography. Ironically, the director doesn’t have any writing credit whatsoever on 1982’s E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial, a movie he considers very personal.

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‘West Side Story’ will see Steven Spielberg tackle a new genre

Even when Spielberg doesn’t write his movies, it’s clear he considers every single one something of a passion project. For instance, he’s been saying for decades that he wanted to make a movie musical in the vein of West Side Story. Now he’s set to direct a remake of the 1961 classic, set for release on Dec. 10, 2022.

Beyond that, he looks to be picking his pen up once again. His next movie is coming-of-age drama The Fabelmans starring Michelle Williams, Seth Rogen, and Paul Dano. Spielberg co-writes that film — which is currently filming — with screenwriter Tony Kushner, whom he collaborated with on Munich and Lincoln.